Monday night proved a haunting evening for Joe Burrow.
The Cincinnati Bengals lost convincingly to their AFC North division rivals, the Cleveland Browns, on Monday Night Football, their chastening 32-13 loss falling on Halloween.
Burrow threw an interception on the opening drive of the game before throwing two touchdowns late on when the match was already running away from the Bengals.
The 25-year-old quarterback was harassed by a rampant Browns defense throughout, being sacked five times, including one and a half by Myles Garrett, who celebrated Halloween by arriving for the game dressed at Vecna from “Stranger Things.”
After the game, Garrett – who became the only player in the NFL with seven or more sacks in each of the past six seasons after yet another dominant performance – said the manner of the victory is one his team are looking to replicate going forward.
“It has to be routine. It has to be the standard,” the three-time All-Pro defensive end said. “We have to make sure that everything we did leading up to this game is the same the week after this one.
“We have what it takes. We have taken our lumps, but we will show what we have and our dedication to the game and what it takes to get wins in this league because they don’t come easily.
“Right now, to get a win like this, and in a dominant fashion, it is showing the guys how good we can really be.”
Having led the Bengals to the Super Bowl last year, Burrow remains winless against the Browns, moving to 0-4 against their fellow Ohio team.
On the other side, Cleveland running back Nick Chubb ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns with quarterback Jacoby Brissett also scrambling for a touchdown in a dominant performance on the ground for the Browns.
Moving to a more rushing-heavy approach paid dividends for the Browns as Chubb tore up the previously resolute Bengals defense.
With his 27th 100-yard rushing game for the organization, Chubb moved into a tie for second in Browns history for the achievement and now leads the NFL in rushing with 841 yards through eight weeks.
Cleveland remained dangerous through the air, with Amari Cooper finishing with a season-high 131 yards and a touchdown.
The only negative moment for the Browns on what was a hugely positive evening came from Cooper who, when given the opportunity to throw the ball in a trick play, threw it right to Bengals safety Vonn Bell for an interception.
With the victory, the Browns snapped a four-game losing streak and moved to 3-5 as they attempt to remain competitive until their offseason signing, Deshaun Watson, can return from his 11-game suspension.
Having already lost star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase to injury for about a month ahead of Monday’s game, the Bengals slip to 4-4 and second in the AFC North standings.